Where to Pick Apples in the Bay Area
It’s a sure sign of fall when pumpkins start showing up on doorsteps and in windows. But along with trips to your favorite pumpkin patch, October is the perfect time of year for apple picking, and the perfect place to pick is only about an hour north of the city.
Sitting between Santa Rosa and Bodega Bay, Sebastopol has a certain small town charm. Wine grapes have taken over many of the fields that were once apple orchards, but the Gravenstein apple has held on to elite status. The town hosts an annual Apple Blossom Festival and Parade in the spring along with the Gravenstein Apple Fair in the late summer. Even the local street signs bare its colorful image.
There are plenty of places to go to pick, or let someone else do the work for you and just stock up on apples and all the sweet things that are made from them! Hours and apple supplies can always change, so it’s a good idea to call before you head out the door.
Apple Bread from Twin Hill Ranch
Twin Hill Ranch
The apple bread is worth the trip alone. You pick apple season started in August and runs through the fall. Pick your own apples are just $2 per pound. Pack lunch, there’s plenty of great places for a picnic. Be sure to head into the Twin Hill Ranch Country Store. Along with all sorts of varieties of apples, you’ll find just about everything apples can be made into - pies, juice, apple sauce, dried apples, butters and their incredible apple bread. 1689 Pleasant Hill Road, 707-823-2815
Apple-A-Day Ratzlaff Ranch
Some folks claim Apple-A-Day Ratzlaff Ranch has the best apple juice they’ve ever tasted. So plan on picking up some after you pick apples for just $1 a pound. Bring cash or a check, no credit cards are accepted.Closed on Saturdays. 13128 Occidental Road, 707-823-0538
Hale’s Apple Farm
There was a time when folks used to be able to pick their own apples, but so many tried to take them up on the idea that the farm couldn’t accommodate everyone, so the family run farm does the picking for you now. Pack a cooler, so you can bring home apple cider and plenty of apples. An added bonus; in October the redwood barn practically overflows with pumpkins and assorted squash of every shape, size and color. Hale’s Apple Farm, 1526 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, 707-823-4613
Shopping tip: Andy’s Market is just across the street. Go in and walk around and you’ll understand it’s not your average roadside fruit and veggie stand. Andy’s Market, 1691 N. Gravenstein Highway, Sebastopol, 707-823-8661
An Excuse to Head Toward Tahoe
If you’re apple crazy, and willing to spend more time in the car Apple Hill® is a group of 50 plus ranches located between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe, just east of Placerville and west of Pollock Pines on the north side of Highway 50. Download the Apple Hill® maps to plan your day, and pack your patience, because you won’t be alone.
Dana can be found on Twitter @drebmann